Texas family wins $2.925 million verdict for ‘first fracking trial’
A jury in Dallas, Texas awarded $2.925 million to plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr, who sued Barnett shale fracking company Aruba Petroleum Inc. for intentionally causing a nuisance on the Parr’s property which impacted their health and ruined their drinking water.
The jury returned its 5-1 verdict confirming that Aruba Petroleum “intentionally created a private nuisance” though its drilling, fracking and production activities at 21 gas wells near the Parrs’ Wise County home over a three-year period between 2008-2011.
Plaintiffs attorneys claimed the case is “the first fracking verdict in U.S. history.”
They convinced a jury that the company’s hydraulic fracturing operations had contaminated their water and land in Decatur leaving them suffering nosebleeds, nausea and rashes.
During the trial, Robert Parr testified his family were left unable to drink the water out of their well and Emma would wake up covered in blood sometimes because of terrible nose bleeds.
Cattle born on the Parr’s ranch were also deformed according to the lawsuit.
The jury awarded the family $275,000 for lost property value, $2.4 million for past mental anguish, pain and suffering by the couple and their daughter; and $250,000 for future pain and suffering.
The lawsuit stated that the Parr’s ‘experienced almost continual sickness, annoyance, discomfort and inconvenience’, due to the fracking operations.
Aruba Petroleum stated that it’s in compliance with the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality.
‘We contend the plaintiffs were neither harmed by the presence of our drilling operations nor was the value of their property diminished…Unfortunately, they delivered a verdict that we believe is counter to the evidence provided,’ said a spokesperson in a statement for Aruba Petroleum.
They plan to appeal according to various agency reports.